Most of us look forward to the summer months for a number of reasons. For young parents these months bring more time for family activities. Then there are vacations and backyard cookouts for all and these are more frequent during the summer. Personally, it’s the time when my favorite sport – baseball – takes center stage. But sadly, if past history is any indication of things to come, for thousands of people this summer will bring devastating losses to households across the country. Because of drunk-driving crashes, the summer months, on average, have many more deaths than the rest of the year. Memorial Day was the kickoff of this harrowing time for deaths caused by drunk driving.
Sadly, a day of celebrating, the Fourth of July is always among the most deadly days of the year when it comes to deaths and serious injuries caused by drunk-driving. Available data shows that more folks are killed on our highways each year during the month of August than in any other month. The grief and hurt caused to families of both the victims and the drunk drivers by these alcohol-related crashes on our highways are beyond my capacity to measure. Having represented the families of hundreds of such victims, I do know that the effect on those families was devastating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued this statement in the nature of a warning:
Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, but all too often the festivities turn tragic on the nation’s roads. The fact is, this iconic American holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk-driving crashes.
We must all do whatever we can to reduce drunk driving throughout the year, but we must increase our efforts during the summer months. Prevention should really start in homes across America. Young people must be taught to realize that drinking and driving just don’t mix. Ideally, a no-drinking policy in the homes would be the best policy to institute. But activities outside the home involving youngsters are a part of life and peer pressure to conform to what others are doing is intense. Proper training at home, in our schools and in our churches will help to make sure that young people understand that no person should ever get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages of any kind.
There are groups in the U.S. working to combat drunk driving. I urge our readers to support these groups. One such organization – MADD – works hard in this area of concern. For example, MADD has lifesaving programs, including sobriety check points and victim support services, in place and they push hard for legislation designed to combat the evils of drunk driving. If you need more information on what MADD does contact them by phone at 1-877-ASK-MADD or by letter at 511 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700, Irving, Texas 75062.
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